Black FilmCultureExclusive Interviews

Rising Actor, Rocky Collins, Chats on Breaking into Hollywood, Working with Revolt TV

Rocky Collins is an American actor. With dual degrees from the Pennsylvania State University, he trained in the Sanford Meisner acting technique at the William Esper Studio in New York City before moving to Los Angeles.

He most recently wrapped a 5-week stage run starring as ‘Jason Willette’ in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Rabbit Hole” by David Lindsay-Abaire at the Lounge Theatre in Los Angeles. The show officially received Ovation Recommended status and ran April 21st-May 21st, 2017 while being extended due to popular demand. Critics loved him.

“Rocky Collings most convincingly shoulders the guilt, the ill-at-ease and the naiveté of the culpable driver behind the fateful wheel.” – Broadway World Los Angeles

Next, Rocky is set to appear in the feature film, “Wanda’s Place”, which has already inked deals with Paul Rodriguez, Sheryl Underwood (The Talk, The Bold and the Beautiful), Ella Joyce (Being Mary Jane, My Wife and Kids), and others.

Here at Purposely Awakened, we have been paying attention to this rising, millennial actor. I recently had the opportunity to interview the talented Rocky Collins. Kick back and enjoy reading the interview below. 

Can you tell myself and the readers about yourself?

I was born and raised in the city of Camden, New Jersey. Growing up I was always placed in sports throughout the year (football, track & field) and exposed to the creative arts over the summer (music, dance). I would say my upbringing was pretty similar to that of kids from any hood — but I do recognize that I had someone in my life pushing me to think beyond the boundaries of what I saw in front of me. In my case, it was my father who pushed to expose me to everything from politics, to financial investing, and even the importance of taking on leadership roles within any team, group, or community. 

What inspired you to get into a career of entertainment?

My inspiration for becoming an entertainer is two-fold. One part of that is that I love to experience life in all facets, even if that means living vicariously through other people, stories, and situations that are unlike my own. Acting provides the privilege of being able to explore humanity via the truths and experiences of others — and if you tap into that whole heartedly, you’ll see there’s a love and a connection between everything and everyone no matter how different. The second motivating factor (and the biggest reason) is the notion that through entertaining, I can give someone else an escape from their own reality. No matter what may be going on in someone’s life good or bad — I have the opportunity to offer them an escape into a story where the problems of their own lives cease to exist. That is powerful. That is necessary. It was for me, and I’m blessed to be able to offer that to someone else.

So now that you’re living on the West Coast, how would you say it differs from the East Coast?

The west coast is vastly different from the east coast! The most obvious is the weather. I never realized how much the weather outside impacted my mood and energy levels until I moved to California and it’s always sunny haha. Bad things seem less bad when the weather is warm and you can catch a nice breeze by the beach. But in terms of the industry, I think there’s a slower pace of moving in Los Angeles compared to the quick pace hustle of New York. On the east coast people hustle hard and very fast. On the west coast, many people would rather appear to be working hard opposed to actually putting in the hustle and getting things done — amongst this, you have to learn how to filter the BS.

Is heart to be break into Hollywood as an actor of color?

In terms of breaking into Hollywood — I wouldn’t consider myself someone who has arrived yet so I can’t speak on this too much. I will say in my comparatively short time in the industry I’ve come across people from all backgrounds and “looks” who have a tougher time getting their shot. Yes — there are fewer roles for people of color and that is a HUGE part of it. You can’t be cast in roles that don’t exist (paraphrased from Viola Davis). But I do believe as an artist, so many things about “your time” are out of your control. But if you stick with it, do everything you can to perfect your craft and pour your heart into it…. the universe will align. God’s timing is the perfect timing.

Have you experienced any racism in the industry?

I haven’t personally (bluntly) have witnessed a racial bias towards me. If anything, it is an amazing time to be a minority in the industry! But again, the lack of roles written for people of color has always been and continues to be a barrier that needs to be adjusted.

How was your experience working at Revolt TV?

Being an on-air personality at Revolt TV was an incredible experience. It was my first time on a major platform and to be on live television everyday with the opportunity to share my point of view on some of today’s biggest pop culture moments was inexplicably blissful. Yes, there were times of frustration involved in learning what comes along with being on live television and the “political” filters you have to have for the sake of a network relationship. But I can vividly remember walking into the studio in Los Angeles every day and being so excited to be there. So, excited to work with the crew members, producers, and directors. Getting to meet cool people every day! Every day I used to sit on our set a few moments before anyone arrived to just look around and take in the moment. And I always felt, “wow…I’m here. I’m wanted here. And I’m valued here.” For a kid from Camden, New Jersey to have that moment on the television set for one of the biggest names in music/entertainment…not bad, not bad at all haha.

Are you working on any projects right now?

I recently wrapped an actor’s showcase in New York City last week and am currently working with my producing partner to produce scripted content for television and film. We have a project in the works with a writer out of New York that I am really excited about. We’ll have the pilot for that ready to shop around some time in 2018. Other than that, it’s the life of an actor to audition, keep your skills sharp, and remain actively creative.

What’s your advice to millennial that want to get into acting and/or hosting?

To the next millennial actor/host — I say, trust yourself. Know that everything that you are — all of your life experiences, all of your strengths, all of your flaws, all of your insecurities, and how you view the world — is absolutely perfect. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to be an artist or live within a role. The only right way is the way that is specific, unique, and true to yourself. Don’t try to “act” like anyone else. Be fully yourself and people will gravitate towards that. PUT IN THE WORK. Many people want to be in this business but they don’t realize that 90% of working in the industry is putting in the work behind the scenes. Whether that’s taking acting/hosting classes, getting involved with writing groups, creating/filming self-tape auditions, and attending as many workshops as you can to meet casting directors. It is all necessary (and not cheap) to building your career. Lastly, find your artistic community. A group of other artists (no matter the medium) to support and lookout for one another. It matters and it goes a long way. Appreciate yourself! The world needs you.

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